Norwegian general first woman commander to head UN peacekeeping force

Secretary general Ban Ki-moon appointed the first woman to command a United Nations peacekeeping force — a Norwegian general who has served in Lebanon, the first Gulf War, Bosnia and Afghanistan. 

Maj. Gen. Kristin Lund will replace Chinese Maj. Gen. Chao Liu on August 13 as commander of about 1,000 UN peacekeepers in Cyprus, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced on Monday. 

Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot north and a Greek Cypriot south since 1974 and talks have resumed to reunite the Mediterranean island. Lund said she’s been to Cyprus several times and is looking forward to the challenges of her new job maintaining the cease-fire and supporting efforts to deal with minefields, unaccounted people, and property disputes, among many issues. 

She said she’s proud to crack the glass ceiling in UN peacekeeping. ‘I think it’s time, and I think it’s important that other women see that it’s possible also in the UN system to get up in the military hierarchy to become a force commander,’’ Lund said. Lund, 55, joined the Norwegian army in 1979 and went on her first overseas mission in 1986 as transport officer with the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. 

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